Fall is my favorite season. It's what brought me to the North Carolina mountains--the brilliant colors, the smell of newly fallen pine needles, the thin, crisp morning air. Every year I want it to last forever. It just doesn't seem fair that it's over so quickly.
All four seasons are roughly 90 days long, but to me, it seems that summer and winter frequently steal days from the front and back end of fall. Officially, autumn starts with the September equinox (around the 24th) and ends with the winter solstice (around December 21st), but fall really starts with the first crisp, cool morning that makes you think of football, and it ends when the colors fade, the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner have been consumed, and the first snow transforms the landscape.
To my surprise, a 2005 Gallup poll found the most popular season to be spring, receiving the nod from 36% of those polled. Fall came in a distant second at 27%. But if you look more closely at the favorite months, May was at the top with 14%, and October was second at 13%, a much closer race. The bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Blue Ridge Parkway in October would indicate the gap between the leading months to be very thin.
I think spring benefits by getting credit for signifying the end of winter, the most hated season. Most people (skiers being the exception) look forward to the end of winter and the coming of spring, while fewer people (mainly sunburned redheads) look forward to the end of summer.
Personal characteristics most commonly associated with those liking fall are: creative, calm, and hardworking. Those linked to liking spring are considered: cheerful, optimistic, and friendly. I can't disagree with these associations. As I look out my window this morning at the beautiful North Carolina landscape, bursting in color, it brings me a sense of calm and inspires creativity.
I hope winter stays away a little longer this year.